Dr. Gehan De Soysa

Sri Lanka’s baby care manufacturing and production sector in a nutshell

Today’s baby care sector in a sentence

It is geared for substantial growth but nevertheless warrants careful monitoring by the authorities – in the context of unsafe chemicals and materials, and the sale of expired products.

Three strengths of the sector

It’s still in the early stages with untapped avenues for growth and an expanding market segment.

Weaknesses of the baby care products market

Too many unethical grey market importers, and many unqualified people who lack knowledge of unsafe and carcinogenic chemicals and elements.

Three evolving consumer trends

Today, parents seek convenience due to their busy schedules, which is why  products that make their lives easier are highly sought after.

Most important aspect consumers look for

They always want the best for their children. This is especially true for millennials and gen Z parents.

How so?

For them, the ‘quality over quantity’ approach is crucial and is worth the cost.

What drives this concept?

Organic food, chemical free baby products, and items with a lower carbon footprint and ecological handprint are products that express their individual identity.

Your thoughts on gender balance in the sector

As with most sectors, this too is male dominated – although at Velona, 65 percent of executive positions are held by women.

Main impact of COVID-19 on the sector

It has visibly impacted regular supply chains with significant disruption in purchasing patterns and channels.

Initiatives to enhance the sector during and after the pandemic

Online platforms have grown exponentially. We made a very timely introduction to the Velona Cuddles Diaper Subscription App right before the first lockdown in Sri Lanka.

How does tech advancement enrich the market

Such apps give parents the confidence that they will never run out of essential supplies for their babies, which has been a concern during this volatile time.

Aim of such investments amid the pandemic

To provide timely information online through social media platforms and other rapid communication mediums to parents.

Value of such investments

Parents are aware of where they can purchase the essential products they need and reduce the inconvenience of having to queue up unnecessarily.

Other initiatives lined up for a post-COVID era

Focussing on new and innovative products while optimistically looking forward to a post-COVID world.

Scope of the sector in Sri Lanka

There’s a massive potential for the growth of this sector in Sri Lanka.

The local vs regional baby care sector in a few words

Regionally, the baby care sector is extremely vibrant and progressive, but plagued by excessive taxes and duties here in Sri Lanka.

What is the outcome of this?

This has deprived Sri Lankan consumers of the opportunity to experience progressive, safer and higher spec products that are available.

How would you describe this sector to gen Z in a sentence?

A sector that’s closest to the heart – one that requires parents to be well-informed and make smart choices for their babies.

Impact of influencers on this sector

Traditional advertising has lost the level of influence it had on previous generations. Genuine influencers and word-of-mouth publicity are most effective for millennials and gen Z.

Scope of influencer marketing in the country

Presently in Sri Lanka, influencer marketing is not as developed as in the West where most influencers have large spheres of influence.

Virtual team management in a sentence

It can be quite effective and productive when planned properly.

Productivity is affecting industrial and economic growth

Yes, the efficiency of most production functions has improved due to new technology and advanced production methods.

The sector in five years’ time

It’s still growing but will be a more mature segment in five years.

Your mantra for success

Be innovative, work smart, always do what’s right and leave the rest in God’s hands.

– Compiled by Ashwini Vethakan